Utility bills can be up to 15% of the cost of home-ownership. With that being said, why is our society so lax on this? We are extremely concerned about the MPG of a car we purchase, yet when it comes to buying or renting a home, we turn our head to the utility costs. We put most of the foreclosure crisis blame on the mortgage industry, but what most people don’t realize is high energy bills had a huge impact on this problem. People would buy these new large homes with an understanding of their mortgage cost but had know idea how high their energy bills would be.
I think the problem came down to education and an industry that is behind the technology. When you buy a new home there are no past energy bills to look at. When you buy an existing home you can only look at the previous owners bills. In the past and even present, there has not been a consistent way to find this information, they same way we do with cars. We needed a general comparison from house to house. Luckily we have have the technology and knowledge, but the industry needs to catch up.
There is a process called the HERS Index Rating that allows a 3rd party certified rater to put a rating on a home, which can be compared to other homes. This rating is based on estimated annual energy usage. The process can be done on new and existing homes. Many builders across the U.S. are already using this rating system. There are also MLS boards across the U.S. that are implementing this rating into the listings for new homes. This gives the home buyer a detailed look at the projected annual energy usage for a home and allows them to compare it to other homes.
If you are shopping for a builder, make sure you ask them if they will provide you a HERS Index Rating. If they are not, make sure they do or find another builder! The great thing about builders that use this process is they can provide you with a projected rating before you break ground. The projected rating will show you where the home should fall once it is complete. This allows for you to make adjustments and see where you can get the most bang for your buck.
I am not going into detail about what is behind the rating in this blog, but if you would like more information that CLICK HERE. If you need help finding a builder who uses this process please CONTACT US.